The offshore bite has been nothing short of electric over the last few weeks.
We have had loads of guests walking the plank for first-time billfish releases, all to the cheers of other anglers on the dock. We celebrated more grand slams in August than any of the summer months, including personal and boat grand slams. One lucky couple, Andrew Skwiat and Marlee Doms, got to release 2 billfish grand slams in 2 days – and it was their first time fishing for Marlin! The Grand Slams were made up of Blue Marlin, Black Marlin and Sailfish. The Blue Marlin bite has been around 25 miles offshore, along with Sailfish, Dorado and yellowfin Tuna. The current lines have been found from the drop off at 8 miles, continuing all the way out. We released a few Black Marlin further offshore, but most came from just 5 miles away from the lodge on the Zane Gray reef. We even released a Striped Marlin in August, which is rare for this time of year. Inshore, anglers worked hard to land monster Roosterfish and Cubera, as well as some big Grouper.
The sea conditions were very good for most of August, however we did experience bigger swell than normal on some days. With some small storms coming through, seas were sporting at times. Rains were still quite frequent throughout August, with 2 to 3 days of beautiful sunshine, followed by 2 days of rain in the afternoon. These rains, however, helped with the flotsam lines forming offshore, resulting in happy anglers. Sea temperatures have been constant offshore in the 86 degree range, and inshore it has varied a lot with all of the rain, ranging from 80 to 87 degrees over the course of the month.
Gary and Laura Plum joined us from Florida, and it was their first time fishing at Tropic Star. The couple fished on the Miss Australia with captain Candelo, and they had an incredible time with their friends and the West family. By the end of their first night, Gary and Laura had made friends with pretty much everyone at the lodge. That is a big part of what makes Tropic Star Lodge so special – the genuine camaraderie. Laura was an incredible camera lady, making sure she captured some awesome shots of Garys’ Billfish. As the sole angler on the boat, Gary had his work cut out for him. Candelo certainly put him on the fish, and he managed to release half a dozen Blue Marlin, a Black Marlin, loads of Sailfish and some arm-stretching Dorado.
Brian and Stephanie Jinks Joined us for their honeymoon. The newlywed couple love fishing together, and are always up for fun. This trip held plenty of laughs and good memories for the pair. Their first day out on the water posed a real challenge for Stephanie – she hooked into a tuna of over 300lbs and had to fight it for close to 3 hours! Unfortunately, it popped the hook next to the boat, so there was no sashimi from that particular beast of a fish – but Stephanie still got to raise her flag and received praise (and commiseration) from everyone for taking on such an incredible fish. Any angler who has ever taken on a Tuna that big knows what she went through! The couple got to land a bunch more Yellowfin Tuna and Dorado. Both Brian and Stephanie have caught Billfish before, and on this trip, they managed to release a beauty of a Blue Marlin and some Sailfish.
Cristopher Johnston and Abbott (aka Moose) Stratford had a very memorable time fishing together at Tropic Star – so much so, that they extended their stay by a few days! Moose released his first Pacific Sailfish of 100lbs, and we got to watch him walk the plank. The anglers also managed to release 3 Blue Marlin, heaps of Sailfish, and a few Dorado and Yellowfin Tuna in between.
Dana and Patty West have been fishing with Tropic Star for many years, and we have had the privilege of getting to know the entire family. Dana and Patty were joined by their kids, Hugh and Leah, as well as Hughs’ fiancé, Alicia. Over the years the West family have had a few fishing bets with my own family… and well, let’s just say that we have never really come out on top. The West family had some amazing fishing, and beat us yet again! Leah caught her personal best Tuna, weighing in at 170lbs and Alicia caught her first Blue Marlin, resulting in another satisfying “walk the plank” moment. Over the course of the week, team West got to smash some Billfish with Fidel on the Pollyanna, and Dana has some amazing photos of their catches to show off back home.
Andrzej and Michal Bilip have been fishing at Tropic Star Lodge for around 18 years now, and it was amazing to have them back with us all the way from Poland. They made fast friends with the group at the lodge, with everyone swapping stories from the many different trips they had experienced over the years. They joined us for 6 days on the water, fishing with Captain Gavilan on the Miss Island Star. To say that they had incredible fishing would be an understatement. The father-son duo managed to release just 1 Black Marlin, but they more than made up for that with incredible Blue Marlin and Sailfish releases. They had nearly a dozen Marlin on the line, and brought back stunning filets of Dorado and Tuna for all to enjoy.
During August, I also got to spend time on the water with my father, Leroy White, who I hadn’t seen in 3 years! It was a great reminder of what the world has gone through lately, cementing just how important it is to spend time with loved ones. We got to catch up on just about everything. Leroy and his wife Elma got to watch their grandson, my son, Logan release his first Sailfish, as Mallory and I cheered him on. After Logan, the rest of the family got to catch Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado, and VW sized Tuna!
In all, it was amazing sharing special moments with so many families, including my own. Every evening, all of our shared mutual congratulations and celebration, laughing with newfound friends. Emails were exchanged, and plans were made – for trips to other exciting destinations, as well as return trips to the legendary Tropic Star Lodge, all with the goal to fish together again.